ZINIO logo
Cycle World

Cycle World Issue 3 - 2020

America's leading motorcycle magazine since its inception in 1962, Cycle World covers all aspects of the two-wheel universe. From dirt-slingin', double-jumping motocrossers to wind-cheating, 200-mph roadracers, Team CW brings experience, credibility and excitement to the pages of the magazine each month. Get Cycle World digital magazine subscription today.

Read More
United States
Bonnier Corporation

in this issue

2 min
unexpected outcomes

Underlining one of the many reasons I am not in the economicforecasting business, I have to admit I never expected what would happen to the motorcycle industry as the coronavirus pandemic altered all our lives. I’m not alone, though, because nobody predicted motorcycle sales would boom. Earlier this year, as businesses and the economy shut down, the jobless rate shot up, and streets, restaurants, and pretty much any vaguely social activity was put on hold, money froze. Predictions for the economy were dire. So, while we all hoped for good health for us, our family, and friends, the motorcycle industry, and especially its dealers, were preparing for the worst. New-motorcycle sales over the last decade had barely crept up following the huge crash of 2008, and while it had sort of stabilized,…

2 min
racing is life

In the 1971 film Le Mans, Steve McQueen famously said: “Racing is life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” As COVID-19 spread around the globe and became a bona fide pandemic, racing in every form came to a halt. Races were canceled one at a time, then entire months were cut from series’ schedules. But the world can only wait so long. Competition is born of the human desire to strive for excellence, and we get so much joy from watching this talent get expressed. This is one of the reasons advertisers, sponsors, and manufacturers invest millions in all kinds of two-wheeled competition, and why fans, waiting for that escape from selfquarantine, isolation, and social distancing, were desperate to see racing resume. When it finally did—mostly without fans,…

5 min

Ordinarily I’m not much for nostalgia. At vintage meets, I see bikes that I saw for the first time in the showroom. In the 1980s, in response to a story I’d written about a 1965 Yamaha TD1-B 250 production roadracer, a kind reader wrote to ask me if I’d like to have the parts to build such a bike. I had owned a used one for $500 in 1967 and had ridden it in a few novice club events. I drove to Maryland to pick up the parts. For 35 years, those parts rested quietly in boxes in my shop. I made occasional gestures toward restoration. I bought pistons, seals, and gaskets while Yamaha still listed them, and a friend painted the chassis and swingarm. The parts in their boxes winked…

5 min
a separate piece

We immediately think of oil and coolant containment—oil seals, O-rings, and gaskets—in this connection. But combustion gas is the fluid that produces power, so we have to add the sealing functions of piston rings, and intake and exhaust valves to our list. Long-lasting oil seals and O-rings are as recent as the synthetic rubbers that can make them impervious to gasoline, oil, brake fluid, or water. Consult Parker Hannifin’s online Fluid Power Seal Design Guide for compatibility. Retaining oil in motorcycle engines, forks, and wheel bearings are round dual-lip oil seals with one lip backed by a slender coil garter spring that holds the lip facing the fluid in constant contact with the shaft. Dimensions are the obvious ones—OD, ID, and thickness. The other seal lip is there to exclude dust…

12 min
forever young

Before we can truly appreciate Harley’s ageless wonder and its half-century of winning and losing, we must hit the way-back button all the way to 1968 and the annual meeting of the American Motorcyclist Association’s competition committee. They had a problem. For 30-plus years, the AMA’s national championship had been contested by bikes powered by side-valve 750s or OHV 500s. The rivals were roughly equal in performance, were the sporting models of their day, and were what Harley-Davidson, Indian, and the English importers had to sell. The world’s economy was in ruins and the sport was nearly dead; and anyway, this equivalency formula had provided years of close and fair racing. But that was then. Now—in 1968, that is—the 750 side valves and OHV 500s no longer duked it out at the…

5 min

Motorcycles need the multiple gear ratios provided by their transmissions because their spark-ignition internal-combustion engines have too little range to cover operation from zero to maximum vehicle speed. Early motorists were pleased that their single-speed motorbikes even ran. They were pleased that, on that single speed, they might effortlessly reach 25 mph—the speed of an athletic bicyclist. They were not so pleased to have to supply “light pedal assist” in climbing hills or, when even that failed, to jump off and push until exhausted. Rules for the 1911 Isle of Man TT races stimulated motorcycling to adopt amenities that had become standard on automobiles—the “free engine clutch” that made it unnecessary to restart the engine after every stop, and two or more ratios in a gearbox, making it possible to have one…